There is a lot to like about the new 234SS from Monterey boats, which start with its looks—when we came across the 234SS at the Miami Boat Show, it stood out on the show floor enough that we decided to shoot a Monterey 234SS Short Take video of the boat. And as crowded as the Miami show is, that’s saying something.

monterey 234 ss

Yes, the Monterey 234SS is an eye-grabber that stands out from the crowd. But this runabout also has a surprise hiding under the enginebox.

Second, and as a motorhead this is key, the base engine is a V8. It’s true. In a lot of runabouts this size, the standard engine is a V6. Of course, the Mercruiser and Volvo-Penta V6s have come a long way in recent years, but they are still just V8s with two cylinders lopped off the block and heads. Even if they run as well as V8s from a few years ago they don’t sound as good, and to a motorhead, that’s important.

What’s more, the price is in line with competitive V6-equipped boats. For example, base MSRP for the 234SS with a 260-horse MerCruiser 5.0 and a Bravo One drive is $58,569. For about $1,100 more you can get a Bravo Three drive. (Here’s the scoop on choosing between Bravo One or Bravo Three drives). With Volvo Penta power, base price is $58,569 with a 270-hp 5.0-liter and an SX drive. That’s already a pretty respectable price point for V8 power, and who knows what kind of deal you can score on a “boat show special?”

Power aside, the trim and equipment inside the 234SS also belie its price. Allow me to nerd out here for a moment on the anchor locker, for example. It comes with a locking hatch, rubber stanchions to hold a Danforth anchor and an eye to attach the anchor line. A telescopic four-step boarding ladder, which folds up and conceals beneath the anchor locker, is optional.

Notable interior features include an optional port side front seat with a backrest that flips forward to allow for lounging and facing the stern. Likewise, the sun pad converts from a flat lounge to one with a rear-facing backrest, so you can keep an eye on the kids swimming behind the boat. Even better, both convertible backrests operate with one hand. Just forward of the sunpad, the rear bench seat conceals a huge removable Igloo cooler. Nice.

monterey 234ss

The helm station is another area of note; the plush padding is French-stitched, and is accented by brushed panels.

At the helm, the driver is treated to a plush, padded dashboard. Gauges have handsome, contemporary black-face dials, with the speedo front and center with an integral trim gauge. Engine vital signs are monitored on a four-in-one gauge to starboard, with the tachometer to port.

The 234SS is available in seven standard gelcoat colors, all of which are pretty enough to make you forget there are optional gelcoat options. Make mine navy blue.
Transom Deadrise20 degrees
Displacement3,950 lbs
Fuel capacity52 gal.

If the base price makes you comfortable enough to check a few boxes on the options list, you might consider the wakeboard tower, which includes a Bimini top and adds $6,333 to the price. You can opt for board racks if you like, but the in-sole ski locker of the 234SS is big enough that they aren’t absolutely necessary. The snap-in carpet is nice and is priced at $675. The convenience package runs $667, and it includes a compass and a depth finder which should be standard in my view, plus a transom trim switch.

Truth be told, even a longtime boater could order a 234SS in standard trim and be content with its, er, content. Even in base trim, there is a lot to like about the 234SS—and lots of people should like that.

For more information, visit Monterey Boats.

Written by: Brett Becker
Brett Becker is a freelance writer and photographer who has covered the marine industry for 15 years. In addition to covering the ski boat and runabout markets for, he regularly writes and shoots for Based in Ventura, Calif., Becker holds a bachelor’s degree in journalism and a master’s in mass communication from the University of Central Florida in Orlando.